There is some debate regarding this question. Some parents and authorities maintain that children will develop the ability to learn how to read on their own when they are ready and exposed to text. Most others believe that reading has to be taught to children. So who is right? Both sides offer up what they consider to be convincing research or evidence to support their stance. Yet in the midst of this debate, you have to ask the question . . . If reading is a natural occurrence, why are there so many illiterate people in the world? I’m by no means claiming that I know the answer to this, yet I feel that part of the answer may lie in the possibility that these people may not have been exposed to much literature or to an environment that fostered a love for reading. Read about Karla to find out more on my theory.
If you hadn’t already guessed, I believe in the power of teaching kids how to read; in the power of taking them beyond simple word calling and detail regurgitation to a place where they can truly connect to what an author tries to convey in their writing. Now I’m not saying that there aren’t children out there who have learned to read on their own, because I know they exist – I have worked with some. However in my experience, they were all children that came from environments where learning was nurtured and modeled by their parents early on, they possessed above average intelligence, and their exposure to books and texts was great early in life. I have also worked with many children who, in spite of coming from similar environments, still had trouble learning to read or experienced setbacks once content became more challenging. I believe this is because every child is different, and not all children learn to develop the important thinking skills required to fully digest text without being shown how. Just like most people can learn to cook when given the right ingredients and left to their own defenses, but only cooks that learn the tricks and secrets go on to become master chefs!
So basically, my experience in teaching kids to read has lead me to believe that the best method for ensuring that your child becomes a “master chef” is to show them the cool tricks and secrets (skills and strategies) that will set them up for success.